From Jeff Koons’s Bunny Bonanza to the Death of Pioneering Architect I.M. Pei: The Best and Worst of the Art World This Week

Catch up on this week's news—fast.

Jeff Koons with Rabbit (1986). Photo ©David Fisher, 2019.

BEST👍

Bunny Hops Straight to the Top – Jeff Koons reigns supreme again, becoming the most expensive living artist with the $90 million sale of his silver-mirrored Rabbit at Christie’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art.

KAWS Comes Home – The New Jersey-native, who currently lives in Brooklyn, will be treated to an extensive survey in 2021 at the Brooklyn Museum. The hometown hero has been dominating New York auctions this week, too, setting off hyper-bidding wars at Phillips and Christies.

Remember the Titians – For the first time in more than 300 years, a painting cycle by the Italian Renaissance artist is being reunited—and this time for a for a world tour.

A Snapshot of American Art – The Whitney Museum’s sprawling biennial shows off the work of 75 emerging artists selected by curators Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta, who explained their vision to artnet News ahead of the opening.

Rauschenberg Rules – The American artist Robert Rauschenberg’s Buffalo II sold at Christie’s this week and set a new auction record for his work, and artnet News’s market maven took a look at what that means for his market.

Sotheby’s Holds Its Own – Francis Bacon’s screaming Pope painting, a major Rothko, and auction records for contemporary artists helped Sotheby’s (almost) keep pace with Christie’s this week.

Apocalyptic Beach Wins Golden Lion – The Lithuanian Pavilion’s striking portrayal of climate change in the form of a seaside opera won best in show at this year’s Venice Biennale. Arthur Jafa also picked up an award for his striking video The White Album.

Hay-Making Haystacks – Monet’s massive painting of pink-hued haystacks broke a world record when it fetched $111 million at Sotheby’s, the highest price ever for an Impressionist work.

 

WORST👎

RIP I.M. Pei – The renown Chinese architect died at age 102 this week. His decades-long career left an indelible mark on the contemporary landscape.

The Worst Work in Venice? – Christoph Büchel’s installation of a migrant ship that sank, killing up to 1,000 people, is definitely the most divisive work on view at the Venice Biennale this year.

Farewell to an Enigmatic Artist – The artist known as Lutz Bacher passed away this week. Her career was shrouded in mystery, but the artist’s incisive commentary on contemporary culture earned her the respect of museums and critics alike.

The Met Cuts Ties with the Sacklers – In a major decision, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it will turn down any donations made by Sackler family members associated with Oxycontin.

Kanders Controversy Enters the Institution – At the Whitney Biennial, investigative video group Forensic Architecture took on the contentious business dealings of the museum’s board member Warren B. Kanders, who owns the weapons-maker Safariland.


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